Vital statistics documents are found in different places depending on the type of document you desire. Each state has a slightly different set up for their legal documents, but fortunately, you can now find just about everything online. The following is a basic primer of where to look and what to expect.
For a copy of your birth certificate, you will want to contact the state in which the birth took place. Some states maintain statewide databases. Others have each county maintain their own records.
Once you have found which department holds your birth certificate, you will need to contact them with your information. Date of birth, name, sex, location of the birth, and parents names are all commonly requested data. Additionally, you will need to prove who you are either with a driver’s license or passport and will need your address. It generally takes several weeks to get your document.
Generally, marriage licenses are kept by the county clerk’s office in the county where the marriage took place. If you want to get a copy, you will need to contact the appropriate county with the name of the married parties, including the bride’s maiden name. The date of the marriage, the location of the ceremony, and your reason for needing a copy will also be necessary.
Once again, you will need to provide your name, address, and purpose when requesting a marriage license. If the couple has passed on, it is often easier to get a copy, especially if you explain you are doing a genealogical search.
If you need a copy of a certificate of death, you will need to contact the local vital statistics office. Explain, briefly and accurately, your need for the document.
Provide the deceased’s name, date of death, gender, and alternate spellings of the name that were commonly used by the individual. Define your relationship to the person. Plan to send along a copy of your identification as well.
The other way to search out information about people who have died is to check with the Social Security Administration Bureau. As long as the death occurred after 1962, the Social Security Death Index should have information available for you. This source has the advantage of providing additional details filed with the Social Security application, and the records are publicly available online.
As you can see, finding this kind of data can be time consuming and challenging. I recommend that you opt to use a search service online instead. Use online sites with vital statistics information to help you save time and reduce frustration. They can pull up all the information you need with much less effort on your part.
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